So, what does a Charlotte Mason Education look like in the home? There are as many applications of the Charlotte Mason Approach as there are families. There is no right or wrong way to implement these ideas…just take these wonderful ideas and implement them your own way! That is just what we have done…our own way!
In our home we have implemented a well-rounded plan for our lifestyle of learning. Our plan includes seven aspects of a Real Education. Come join us as we walk through our typical day in our Charlotte Mason Homeschool…
Quiet Times…Our days begin with each family member having his/her own personal quiet time. This is not pre-determined by me. Each member of our family spends their quiet time based on their own abilities and preferences for study and worship. The one thing that is determined as a standard is the set time and the respect for the quiet time of one another.
Chores…Usually each family member rolls on into this aspect of our day as they finish their Quiet Time. Because our quiet times vary in time, this was the next logical time for our day. The children are expected to do their portion of the chores. They feed their animals…help to clean the house…help with maintenance of our vehicles…etc. These things are usually checked over while everyone gets ready for our “table time.”
Table Time…This is the time each day that we teach the skills necessary for our children to learn on their own. We have short lessons in Bible Study/Bible Memory, Reading, Writing, Latin/Greek, and Math. These lessons are based on their individual abilities and speed rather than on any certain grade level. We have found that having a set time each day with set expectations has helped our children to work independently at earlier ages…become responsible for their own individual progress…and develop an enjoyment of these often tedious studies!
Family Time…Our family time is at a different time of the day than many families. We have to finish our work early in the day so that we can enjoy our morning and early afternoon with my husband. I used to wonder just why my husband would not help me teach “subjects” that I “deemed” as important. Well, it was because he had much more important things to teach than a mere textbook! He has the responsibility from God to teach my children WHO HE IS. This is perhaps one of the most vital lessons taught in our home. He teaches many skills that only he could teach, but that is not enough to “educate” our children in the way that God wants for our children to be educated. He has to teach his love for God…his life story/message…his wisdom…his knowledge…his understanding. There are so many lessons that are more vital than a mere subject and those lessons are taught in our moments with him. This time usually frees me up somewhat because often my children spend time with my husband while I catch up on my responsibilities. I have been amazed to see the abilities of my children at such young ages…but it all comes from “catching” who my husband is…what a family is like…and who we are as a family!
Productive Free Time…This is the time that our children have free each day to pursue interests, hobbies, and studies that they would like to pursue on their own. If you were to come into our home, you would find our children doing a whole host of things that they enjoy. Our typical day is a mix of anything from observing and studying nature to writing books to helping dad build/fix things to sketching prints studied in our picture studies to “dancing” to Classical Music to climbing trees to playing dress up to re-enacting a war to running to playing to doing crafts to practicing instruments to extending hospitality to our extended family and friends…so on! These things may not seem like “school” but they are actually the most productive times of learning for our family!
Ministry…This is one area of our lives that has afforded the most opportunities for our children to be trained up for their callings. Although we do primarily minister in many obvious ways, we also take great delight in the little acts of service that are less obvious and what I would call “quiet ministry.” This includes making cards for the sick…praying for those on our hearts…taking meals to those in need…smiling at and encouraging those who are weary and worn along the way (gas station, grocery store, bookstore, library…so on!)…sharing hand-me-downs…offering hospitality…carrying books/boxes/etc…pushing shopping carts into stores…cleaning the house so mom can have more time to write/bake/sew for others…so on. The ideas are unlimited! Our training ground for our little “missionaries” is within our own home. This training needs to be a part of every day life for all committed Christians!
Family Reading…This is one of our most treasured times of the day! Actually if you were able to come into our home during this time, you would consider this one of the most “quaint” times of our day. We usually do our family reading right before bedtime. Because I have a personal LOVE for tea and coffee time, we usually have a ritual of making up hot tea or mocha coffee or hot chocolate along with some light snacks. We curl up with our steaming cups and goodies while we take turns reading our Daily Bible Reading selection, next chapter of our Read Alouds (we alternate between Classics, Biographies, Stories, Fables, Animal Stories, etc.…), and cuddle up to share observations and thoughts about Art Prints. This is such a special part of our day…yet, the time that we “cover” all the things that I desire for my children to study before they are grown!
This ends the typical day in OUR Charlotte Mason Homeschool! Perhaps, you can gain a glimpse into the riches of this approach “revived” from this dear woman. The approach and philosophy of Charlotte Mason brings gentleness and freedom into educating children toward their callings in life. The ideas of this dear lady live on because they are built upon premises that are as old as time. Truly, we can agree that “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life!”
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